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Russia: Fresh US sanctions blow to normalising ties

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Moscow: Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov on Wednesday slammed the US move to impose fresh sanctions on Moscow, calling it “destruction of prospects for normalising relations between the two countries”.

Ryabkov’s comments came after the US House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a package of further punitive measures for Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 US elections and its 2014 annexation of the Crimea.

“What is happening is beyond common sense,” Ryabkov told Russia’s official TASS news agency. “The authors and sponsors of this bill are making a very serious step towards destruction of prospects for normalising relations with Russia.”

He said the approval of the law “would be the work of the enemies of Russia and the US”.

Ryabkov also said that Washington’s move had complicated negotiations between the two countries about the reutrn of seized Russian diplomatic property in the US.

“The US executive authority’s capabilities to make the only correct decision to return to us the diplomatic property without any conditions are significantly narrowed… Therefore, of course our dialogue on this topic becomes even more difficult,” Sputnik news agency quoted Ryabkov as telling RIA Novosti.

The bill awaits a final vote in the Senate before it can be presented to US President Donald Trump, who has the power to veto the measure. Ryabkov called the result of the vote “predicted” and said that the sanctions bill would soon be approved by the US Senate.

The bill also includes extended punitive measures against North Korea and Iran and would limit Trump’s capacity to ease sanctions on Russia in the future without seeking the approval of lawmakers.

Since taking over at the White House in January, Trump had been fighting off accusations that members of his election campaign team colluded with Russia in order to gather damaging information against his Democrat opponent Hillary Clinton.

IANS

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